Courtney.

by Beth Anne on April 27, 2014

“Kim? Kim, it’s Beth Anne. What happened?”

My voice caught on the phone with my college roommate, Kim. We hadn’t spoken on the phone in 8 years & she was the first person I called when I saw the update, that Courtney Sanford was gone. Ten years ago, Kim & I shared bunk beds in a 20×20 cinder block room on our sorority hall, where our “big sisters” helped us study & taught us to be ADPi’s.

Courtney was Kim’s big sister & with one Facebook message, she crossed the median on Business 85 & she was gone.

courtney2 Courtney.

I spent Thursday night on the phone with my sorority sisters, trying to understand. The person in the accident is never supposed to be someone you know, someone you wrapped your arms around, someone that made you laugh. But this time, it was.

courtney3 Courtney.

I saw her story shared on Facebook by my sisters, then by people that didn’t know Courtney. It was hard to see her crumpled red car every time I opened my laptop. I clicked to Buzzfeed & the girl I knew stared back at me in black & white as the top story. I refused to read the comments & I put my head in my hands & cried.

I felt violated that my friend was now public property even though I wished desperately for others to take the warning.

courtney1 Courtney.

I saw the “FAIL” over her face & a piece of my heart broke further. I remember Courtney outside of the accident, like the Facebook status & wreck happened to someone different, & yet the FAIL makes it impossible to separate my friend from the truth of the accident.

What happened is bullshit & Courtney would agree because she loved to call people on bullshit.

courtneyba Courtney.

Courtney was beautiful & flawed & loved, just like all of us. She made a bad choice & paid with her life. Don’t post her story to mock her, but to raise awareness because we’ve all done what she did & maybe it wasn’t a Facebook status, but a text or grabbing a drink that rolled on the floor. I don’t care how many times you’ve done it successfully before – STOP NOW. You are human & distracted, just like Courtney.

People love you & would miss you, just like Courtney.

adpi1 Courtney.

As her family & friends & our Zeta Psi chapter grieve for her, please let this be a reminder that you are more precious than any Facebook status or text. Please put down the phone. It can always wait.

{ 40 comments }

Lately with Tuck.

by Beth Anne on April 11, 2014

tucker 300x300 Lately with Tuck.It started this winter, our girl looking stiff as she stood up after a nap on the floor.

We noticed she didn’t hop up on the couch or bed with ease anymore & so we started her on glucosamine pills every morning. Two pills that she took happily, thinking they were treats & oblivious to us watching her hips with care. The cold nights seemed to be the worst & we bought her a dog bed for the first time in 8 years & covered her with blankets. She was stiff at night but comfortable & chased a ball in the backyard on the pretty days.

Then four weeks ago, she didn’t greet me at the door & her back feet touched when she hobbled over when I called her name. I took her to the vet immediately – it was a Friday afternoon & I lifted her 55 lbs into the car & she yelped from pain. The vet looked her over, tested her legs & couldn’t find damage but confirmed what we’ve known for several months – arthritis. We left with big pills that combined an anti-inflammatory & pain med. For 2 weeks she was better & when the pills finished, per the vet, we waited to see if the pain would return. For 2 more weeks she seemed fine & we wondered if the diagnosis was wrong, if maybe she had sprained something before & now it was all better.

Yesterday she woke us at 5:30 am crying at the foot of the stairs. I poured a cup of coffee & sat with her & we waited for the meds to kick in. Last night, Doug carried her up the stairs for bed & the worry showed on both our faces. She spent the night whimpering.

This morning I took her down the 4 stairs to our front yard & when we headed back to the house, she screamed in pain up all 4 stairs. I sank to my knees beside her & cried & Harry stood at the door wondering what is wrong, is Tucker okay, why did she make that noise?

She has her medication & is finally resting quietly & I’m sitting here with her on a Friday morning because nobody should be left alone when they’re hurting, even a dog. She’s only 8 years old & that keeps going through my mind as I ruffle the red fur on her neck. She’s only 8 years old but when we got her, all we had was a marriage license & a hand-me-down plaid couch. She’s only 8 years old but that’s 8 years with her at the foot of our bed & 8 years of her little face peeking out of the windows when we pull into the driveway.

She’s only 8 years old & she’s not just a dog.

{ 46 comments }

The Reluctant Runner

by Beth Anne on April 1, 2014

running The Reluctant Runner

I love the sound of running shoes, the muffled hit of rubber when my stride is just right & I often run without headphones just to hear it & my sweat seems to drop with my breath. I love aching legs & burning lungs & the mental focus to stay steady. I adore running.

It’s just a shame that I’m so terrible at something I love.

Over the years I’ve attempted to create a habit of running, dreaming of half marathons but there’s always a voice that tells me I’ll never be able to do it & then I fail. I hang up my sneakers & fold my running tights & sit back down on the couch. I’m just not good at running.

In the fall I promised my little family that this winter would be different than the past few, that I wouldn’t retreat into myself with the waning daylight. I sat under my sunlamp throughout the work day, 6-8 hours per day. I took Vitamin D supplements. I picked my running shoes, logging miles on the treadmill several times per week. Running became medicinal for me & that kept me going for months.

PicMonkey Collage The Reluctant Runner

Running Epiphany #1

As 2013 turned to 2014, I became incredibly frustrated with my runs. I capped out at .75 mile of continuous every single time – run .75 mile, walk .25 mile, run .5 mile, etc despite the treadmill reading a 12 minute pace. I asked my friend Rici for advice & she kept encouraging me to go just a little farther each day. The first few .80’s were victories but they waned until I had a new “stuck.” Then on a rare beautiful day in February, I opened Nike+ & went running through our neighborhood trails at my usual stride. At .75 with aching legs, I looked down & saw I was running a 9:35 mile.

A quick Google search confirmed that most treadmill readings are wrong & I’d been running a sub-10 minute mile for months. Problem was that my body wasn’t ready to handle that speed (fat & bad asthma lungs) & I needed to learn how to slow myself. (You should have seen the actual hand-to-forehead smack I gave myself for being so dense.) So I headed back to the treadmill, letting the ability to set my speed re-train me, a running sensor in hand. The first day of keeping myself at an 11 minute mile, I ran 1.25 miles non-stop easily. The second run was sub-11 minutes at 1.5 miles non-stop. Slowly over the past few weeks, I’ve been ignoring the treadmill & listening to my own stride & pace.

I’ve made more progress in 2 weeks than I made in 4 months.

Running Epiphany #2

Last week the sun shone & temperatures soared into the 70s, a welcome change from the long & cold winter. I took my shoes to the pavement, determined to soak up the last rays of the day & run 2 miles non-stop, using the change in scenery & beautiful day as motivation. Half a mile in, my shins started to throb. At a mile, they hurt so badly that I stopped to stretch. I walked them out, shook them, & the moment I picked up my pace, they exploded in pain.

Shin splints are a bitch.

& I find nature more distracting than inspiring while I run. Probably because I’m trying not to trip.

The truth is, I’m a treadmill runner & it feels like a shameful secret to tell. Real runners don’t run solely on treadmills, do they? Runners love trails & outdoor races & those little water bottle fanny packs. But I don’t love any of those things. I love the steady treadmill, the ease on my joints, not worrying about the weather. Being surrounded by others at the gym inspires me & yet I’m still alone, headphones blasting. Also this:

abae1a4507cc4fa1fee17456a73096ff The Reluctant Runner

So I might be running my 5K on a treadmill, but I’m still running it. I think that’s worthy of running shoes.

I’m so eager to hear your own running stories. Are there any other treadmill runners out there? Or maybe you have something that you love to do that you’re just inherently bad at?

{ 52 comments }

plumbing My dining room may be fabulous but the plumbing sucks.

Last night I helped Harrison out of the shower & turned off the water. (He was mad because he likes to turn off the water but you know, sometimes I forget & act on habit like all moms.) I toweled him off & the water kept trickling from the shower head because sometimes that happens for a few minutes when you own a 20-year-old house that was a misused rental for a decade.

But after teeth were brushed & jammies were put on & a fast book was read, Doug & I stood in our bathroom side-by-side staring at the shower. The water was still streaming, despite multiple attempts to shut the faucet off completely. I tend to get really stubborn when I can’t force an inanimate object to do exactly what I want, so while Doug turned off the water by the knob in the downstairs toy closet, I stayed upstairs still flipping the handle up & down, up & down to no avail.

For the first 20 minutes, we convinced ourselves it was water leftover in the pipes but at more than a trickle, leaving it be for the night was like watching dollar signs stream out of a 20-year-old faucet. Doug started getting the OMG-THIS-HOUSE crazy eyes that make him do insane things like rip fire alarms out of ceilings & remove all the mulch from our front flower beds.

The crazy eyes make me feel guilty because let’s be honest, it was me that fell so hard in love with this house. So I try to diffuse how he’s 2.5 seconds away from ripping the house apart board-by-board by finding a solution, which usually involves watching DIY YouTube tutorials.

“We need to turn off the water at the street!” I announced & Doug’s looking at me like, no shit, I said that 10 minutes ago. So there we were, throwing random items of clothes on top of our pajamas & trudging through our front yard at 10pm with flashlights & wrenches. It looked suspect at best. Doug popped open the little metal underground box that houses the water main thing & he gets the wrench on &…nothing. The darn thing doesn’t move, thanks to a complete lack of torque & 20 years of properly paid water bills.

After 5 minutes he’s like, “This isn’t working” & starts heading to the house to find another tool & I’m like THE HELL IT ISN’T. Like I said, I tend to get angry at inanimate objects. So I grab the wrench & it must be all that Body Pump I’ve been taking in the evenings, or maybe it was the stream of profanity that effortlessly fell from my lips in that moment, but the darn thing turned like a charm.

(note to self: send apology notes & a box of cookies to the neighbors.)

This morning we had no ability to flush toilets or make coffee, which briefly impacted my quality of life. We paid a plumber $125 to come look at the shower & sure enough, the handle & valves were so corroded that they couldn’t turn all the way & now the whole thing has to be replaced by going through a wall in the closet, starting tomorrow.

I know our house gives Doug the crazy eyes & I admit that sometimes I get the same twitchy feeling, but it’s ours & it’s where we’re building our life. Squatting in our front yard in mismatched pajamas, looking like fools, I realized that there’s still nobody else I’d rather be on this adventure with.

{ 40 comments }

It’s been over a month since my last post.

ausitn Hi. Remember me? I used to write here almost daily.

I wish we could catch up in person, like how Liz & I chatted for an hour over lattes in Austin just two weeks ago. Pour a cup of coffee, maybe go for a walk, or sit in a backyard full of sunshine the way Shannon & I do while our boys run circles around us. I would ask you how life was – how are your kids? your husband? your house? are you looking at replacing an air conditioning unit like we are? how ready are you for the summer? have you planned vacation yet? I’d want to know all of these things about you, even the little stuff you think doesn’t matter, like if you’ve organized your junk drawer lately.

It’s funny how I want to know all of that about you (hence the 200+ blogs in my reader) but when it comes to sharing that part of myself, I think you won’t care. At least, that’s what I tell myself when I think about blogging, that someone else has already said it better & has the bandwidth to have the deeper thoughts.

But maybe you would like to hear about my dining room, which I painted a rich, lovely shade of green. It’s Pantone’s Online Lime but there’s nothing lime about it…just pure, deep green. We installed the first layer of chair rail (second fancy layer & boxes below to come!). I brought in the light blue & cream living room drapes from our first house & am searching for the perfect soft natural fiber rug to put under our feet.

diningroom1 edit 1024x768 Hi. Remember me? I used to write here almost daily.

I also sewed white poms to our marigold curtains. Our living room is my most favorite place to drink a cup of coffee in the morning. Or sit under a blanket on a rainy Sunday afternoon like this one.

livingroom1 edit 1024x768 Hi. Remember me? I used to write here almost daily.

In mid-February, I turned in my two-week notice to Babble & the absence of having to blog was the best rest for my burnt-out desire to write. I am so excited to just work for Ignite & only blog when I want. To go to work & come home & the evening is completely mine, no interruptions or writing at midnight to meet deadlines. Cutting the financial security blanket that Babble had been throughout the past two years was not something we took lightly & I emailed the editors with my heart in my throat, but it was the perfect move at the perfect time.

Now the days are getting longer & the air is getting warmer & I am already dreaming of the summer evenings at the pool, when we smell like sunscreen & chlorine for 3 months straight. I don’t want to miss any moment of our life but I still feel the need to write, to connect to a bigger world outside of my own.

So here I am, tapping at keys.

{ 60 comments }